Bosch plans to expand its activities further in Japan and is investing €100 million this year.

It expects sales in Japan this year to grow by about 7% to €2.3 billion with automotive technology contributing over €2 billion.

"For Bosch, Japan is a key market, not least on account of the outstanding significance of the Japanese automotive industry for the entire region," said Bosch automotive head Bernd Bohr at a Tokyo show press conference.

Bosch employs 9,200 in Japan, and 8,400 work in automotive technology. Following the merger of the braking and automotive electronics businesses three years ago, and with the aftermarket business in July 2005, the supplier has now pooled all automotive technology into the Bosch Corporation.

Bosch expects around 30% growth in transmission controls and noted thatdemand for push belts for continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) is also growing significantly.

It also plans significantly to increase its sales of electronic stability programme (ESP).

Japan's National Agency for Automotive Safety and Victims Aid has said that vehicles with ESP are involved in almost a third fewer head-on collisions and traffic accidents than vehicles without it.

"In view of this, we welcome the fact that the share of vehicles equipped with this system is increasing: last year, 10% of all cars produced in Japan were equipped with ESP, and by 2007 this figure is expected to have risen to 25%," said Bohr.

At the end of the year Bosch will launch second generation petrol direct injection systems - smaller, lighter, more cost-efficient, and highly flexible to allow a wide variety of combustion processes.

It is also working on higher injection pressures for the diesel common-rail system, with the aim of further enhancing consumption and emission values.

Bosch is also involved in the development and system integration of hybrid drives, calling on years of experience with combustion engines and electric motors, and in brake and power management.